The Home Run Appetizer

Despite the fact that there are only two of us, Peter and I buy food in bulk. One of his favorite places to shop is a little store called Restaurant Depot.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I say little? I meant absolutely enormous.

Fortunately, we have a chest freezer to supplement the fridge/freezer combo in the place we rent. Good thing, or Peter wouldn’t’ve been able to buy four ducks at Restaurant Depot in Indianapolis the day after we moved here.

Did I mention there were only two of us?

The last time I roasted a duck, we were preparing for our move to Illinois. We attempted to plow through our comestibles, which made for some interesting combinations (rice with peas and buffalo sausage, anyone?). These last-minute feasts included this incredible roast duck. Because we still had one left from the last time Peter bought four ducks at once.

I wanted to push this duck one step further and make an appetizer that would be a hit at any dinner party. Most of the fat cooks out while roasting, and you can decrease the fat even further by not adding crispy skin to the buns (Peter: “Blasphemy!”). You can also serve this as a main meal with some veggies on the side, but I warn you – we did this and, whew, that’s a lot of duck.






This recipe is adapted from The 150 Best American Recipes: The Amazing Five-Hour Roast Duck. Yes, this is a time investment, so I encourage you to try it on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Crispy Roast Duck with Hoisin Buns

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 5 hours

  Keywords: roast bake appetizer entree side duck

Ingredients (4-8 servings)

  • 1 duck, giblets removed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (optional)
  • 8 frozen folded buns (can be found in the freezer case of your Asian grocery)
  • 2 scallions, sliced into 2-inch “matchsticks”
  • Hoisin sauce


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the outside of the duck. Sprinkle thyme, garlic, and Chinese five spice powder (if using) inside the cavity. Use kitchen shears (easier) or a small, sharp knife to make dozens of slits in the duck skin, avoiding the meat.

Place duck breast-side up on a cooling rack sitting inside a baking sheet or roasting pan. Every hour for the next four hours, take pan out of the oven and flip the duck over. If fat has accumulated in the pan, pour off.

After four hours, increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour longer, until the skin is crisp and brown. Let the duck rest for 20 minutes before carving.

While the duck is resting, follow the directions for steaming the buns (about 10 minutes). Place the scallions in ice water and allow them to curl (if they don’t, they aren’t sliced thin enough). Drain scallions.

On each steamed bun place duck, a few scallion strips, and hoisin sauce. Enjoy while hot.

Powered by Recipage

Q: If you eat duck, what’s your favorite way to cook it/order it?


  1. I love duck! I only tried it for the first time when I was about 20 years old as a nibble at a posh bar. It was spicy (for me!) duck spring rolls with this amazing sweet plum sauce = instant love. I haven’t had duck many different ways though, so I couldn’t tell which way is my favourite, probably a combination with something sweet and tart. Perhaps I’ll always love the spring rolls with the sweet plum sauce because of the memories of a more innocent time? 🙂

    Oh and as a lover of all things bread, I am really going to look for these steamed buns!

    1. Duck spring rolls sound fantastic!

  2. I ate a LOT of duck in Korea and it was so delicious! The best duck I ate there was at a traditional restaurant, roasted in a special traditional oven and stuffed with nuts and rice.

    That restaurant depot looks like it’s for real pros, wowza! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *